Man charged in York Co. killing back in SC; could end up on death row

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY AN­DREW DYS [email protected]­al­don­line.com An­drew Dys: 803-329- 4065, @An­drewDysHer­ald

The North Carolina man charged in the bru­tal beat­ing death of a York County fa­ther in June be­fore flee­ing to Char­lotte has been ex­tra­dited on a mur­der charge.

Be­cause Charles Thomas Rid­ings, 22, is also ac­cused of armed rob­bery dur­ing the beat­ing death of Scot­tie Starnes, York County pros­e­cu­tors could seek the death penalty.

Rid­ings was ex­tra­dited from North Carolina to South Carolina late Thurs­day af­ter Rid­ings fought ex­tra­di­tion af­ter be­ing cap­tured in Char­lotte four days af­ter Starnes was killed. Gover­nors of both states signed war­rants forc­ing Rid­ings to be brought to York County to face charges for mur­der, armed rob­bery and grand lar­ceny.

Rid­ings is charged in the killing of Starnes, 45, dur­ing a rob­bery June 4 at Starnes’ home in ru­ral York County near the Catawba River. York County Sher­iff Kevin Tol­son said Rid­ings beat Starnes to death, then stole Starnes car and fled to Char­lotte.

Pros­e­cu­tors un­der South Carolina law can seek the death penalty in a mur­der trial if other ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tors are also part of the crime. Armed rob­bery is one of those fac­tors that al­lows pros­e­cu­tors to con­sider seek­ing cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment.

Although Rid­ings’ case is death penalty eli­gi­ble, York County pros­e­cu­tors have made no de­ci­sion on whether to seek it, said Willy Thomp­son, 16th Cir­cuit deputy so­lic­i­tor.

“It is far too early in the process,” Thomp­son said Fri­day.

No other charges are pend­ing against Rid­ings, said Trent Faris, spokesper­son for the York County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

Rid­ings was de­nied bond Fri­day af­ter­noon by York County mag­is­trate judge Dan Malphrus and re­mains in the York County jail. Rid­ings was qual­i­fied for a pub­lic de­fender af­ter be­ing de­clared in­di­gent, Malphrus said af­ter the hear­ing.

Charles Rid­ings

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